Conroe Texas is a small city located about 40 miles north of Downtown Houston. It is just south of 21,000-acre Lake Conroe and the Sam Houston National Forest. Many of the things to do in Conroe involve Lake Conroe with its wonderful fishing and boating activities and hunting, hiking, and camping in the national forest. Just north of Sam Houston National Forest is Lake Livingston, another popular recreational lake. It is in the Piney Woods ecosystem that extends across East Texas, southern Arkansas, western Louisiana, and southeastern Oklahoma.
The modern history of Conroe Texas began with the founding of a sawmill in 1881 by Union Cavalry officer and Houston lumberman, Isaac Conroe. The region was a major United States lumber provider through the first half of the twentieth century. Today, the Piney Woods that once contained vast forests of pine, hickory, and oaks is an endangered ecosystem, with protected pockets and national forests providing multi-use recreation.
Things to do in Conroe include discovering the rich history of this region. Part of the twentieth-century history is in the downtown area. The Crighton Theatre is a beautiful art deco structure built by former Mayor Harry Crighton in 1934 after he became an oil millionaire when the “black gold” (oil) was discovered here. The theater flourished during the height of the vaudeville period, and reached its peak when Elvis Presley performed there in 1950. It was closed in the 1960s when drive-in theaters became popular across the United States. The Crighton, along with the entire downtown area, was refurbished beginning in 1999, and it is a magnificent example of the Golden Age of live entertainment. Many of the surrounding communities boast wonderfully preserved log cabins and complete pioneer towns that today serve as living history museums.
One of the main Conroe attractions is the Heritage Museum of Montgomery County, which has wonderful examples of historic homes and buildings. If you’re enjoying family vacations, children aged 9 to 12 can enjoy one of two five-day programs teaching everything from butter churning and writing with a quill pen to cutting logs with a two-man saw.
Both the lumber boom and the discovery of oil meant millionaires, and today one of the highest concentrations of millionaires in the United States either live here or have seasonal homes here. Many of these are available as lakeside vacation rentals. As the city of Houston spread to the north, Conroe Texas became a more and more desirable residential area. Today, one of the sections of the larger city, The Woodlands, is only five miles south of Conroe. There are numerous golf venues in the area, providing even more outdoor recreation, as well as Splashtown Water Park.
By far, the majority of things to do in Conroe involve Lake Conroe and the national forest. In addition to boating, swimming, and fishing, you can take scenic cruises on the elegant Victorian-era paddlewheel steamer replica, the Southern Empress, a wonderful venue for a romantic dinner, dancing, weddings, and other special events. Over three days in early October, you can attend the popular Cajun Catfish Festival, with wonderful music and mouthwatering food that includes shrimp, gumbo, frog legs, alligator, boudin and other spicy sausage, and red beans with rice.